Trump Attends His Sister’s Funeral, but Does Not Speak

More than 100 mourners streamed into the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in Manhattan on Friday morning for the memorial service of Maryanne Trump Barry, a longtime federal judge and an older sister of Donald J. Trump.

The former president was among those who attended. He arrived, along with his wife, Melania, and other family members as part of a processional from the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York greeted them. Shortly before the service began, Mr. Trump posted a brief tribute on his social media platform, Truth Social: “Funeral Now. I Love Maryanne. God Bless You. Rest In Peace!”

The service was closed to the public. Secret Service agents and New York Police Department officers were stationed outside the church on Park Avenue. Security guards sought to prevent all but Judge Barry’s friends and family members from going inside.

Pallbearers carry the coffin of Judge Maryanne Trump Barry into the church.Credit…Dave Sanders for The New York Times
A glimpse of the church’s interior during the service for Judge Barry.Credit…Jeenah Moon for The New York Times

Three days before the service, Judge Barry’s son, David William Desmond, said it would be closed to the news media. “The service will be private,” he said, “and we prefer to avoid any press coverage.”

Mr. Trump did not speak at the service. Mr. Desmond, a neuropsychologist and writer, was the only person aside from clergy to deliver a eulogy, according to two people who attended.

Mr. Desmond praised Judge Barry as a mother and spoke of the courage and resiliency she displayed while rising in a male-dominated profession. He also mentioned her association with Democrats and Republicans: President Reagan appointed Judge Barry to the District Court in New Jersey in 1983; a decade later, President Bill Clinton elevated her to the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Mr. Desmond did not mention former President Trump in his remarks, the people said.

Judge Barry died on Monday at her home on the Upper East Side of Manhattan at age 86. She was twice married — to David Desmond, from 1960 to 1980, and to John J. Barry, from 1982 until his death in 2000.

Pedestrians look toward the church from Park Avenue.Credit…Jeenah Moon for The New York Times
The program for the service.Credit…Dave Sanders for The New York Times

Judge Barry refrained in her lifetime from publicly criticizing her famous brother. But in a series of surreptitiously recorded interviews in 2018 and 2019 with a niece, Mary L. Trump, she spoke scathingly of him. “He has no principles,” she said. “None.” She added, “It’s the phoniness and this cruelty. Donald is cruel.”

Mary Trump taped Judge Barry’s remarks while working on the 2020 book “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.” She later shared audio from those interviews with The Washington Post.

Judge Barry also spoke critically to her niece about the eulogy Donald Trump delivered at the 1999 memorial service for their father, the real estate mogul Fred C. Trump. “Donald was the only one who didn’t speak about Dad,” she said.

“I don’t want any of my siblings to speak at my funeral,” Judge Barry continued. “And that’s all about Donald and what he did at Dad’s funeral. I don’t know. It was all about him.”

Mr. Trump, who is the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination while facing 91 felony counts in four cases, has expressed deep admiration for Judge Barry over the years. In a tribute that he posted on Truth Social on Tuesday, he called her a “truly beautiful woman, tall and elegant, with a presence like no other,” who “was also a tremendous student, intellect, and Judge.”

“Her life was largely problem free, PERFECT, until I made it difficult for her when I decided to run for President,” he added.

Other family members attending the service were: two of Mr. Trump’s sons, Donald J. Trump Jr. and Eric Trump; his daughter Ivanka Trump; and her husband, Jared Kushner. As bagpipers played a mournful air afterward, the former president spoke for a few moments with the pastor on the steps of the church.

Douglas Purcell, the cantor at St. Ignatius Loyola, said in an interview after the service that the lack of mention of the former president seemed to be in accordance with Judge Barry’s wishes.

“Judges are very careful about the words they choose,” he said. “Between the pastor and the son, they mentioned many of her causes — women, people in need — and that we all should be helping our fellow humans. And you wonder how that was being directed.”

Eric Trump, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump moments after the service.Credit…Jeenah Moon for The New York Times
The scene after the memorial service for Judge Barry.Credit…Jeenah Moon for The New York Times

Mr. Purcell, 60, added that Judge Barry had converted to Catholicism as an adult and had been a regular at Mass. Early in the service, he led the mourners in the singing of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” a hymn composed in the 16th century by the Protestant reformer Martin Luther that has in recent decades become common in Catholic services.

Mr. Purcell, who said he had not voted for Mr. Trump, read aloud some of the words printed in the program:

“The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him;

His rage we can endure, For lo! his doom is sure;

One little word shall fell him.”

“One has to wonder,” Mr. Purcell said, adding, “She chose all the hymns.”

Back to top button